As much as computing and digital media brings people together, through messaging, social media, photo and file sharing between diverse demographics and long distances, it can also create obstacles and division in intimate relationships.
Pay attention to some of the key ways that technology can create barriers to communication and quality interaction that we all need as couples and human beings.
1) Isolation- Technology encourages us to be literally absorbed in our own world. A connection with our significant other suffers when our individual focus leads to many more social connections. It is tempting to stare through the window of our computers into wide world of endless social connections. The problem is that as exciting as this might seem, it causes us to spread ourselves “too thin”and sacrifices the precious quality time we need to nuture our primary relationships. It is so easy to socialize through a computer that we simply don’t make the effort to socialize with our own partner or spouse.
2) Unhealthy focus pull- Some people do develop addictions to thier computers and mobile devices. Overuse and lack of control surely takes a toll on their lives and relationships. These addictions can take many shapes, such as excessive gaming, online gambling, porn and chat rooms.
3) Distractions and Interruptions- Constant distractions caused by text messages, social media alerts or incoming email may well be unintentional or unconsiously responded to but our automatic attention to these things sends a clear message that the technology or whatever or whoever is on the other side is more important that the partner in our presence.
Like any other external influence, technology can help or hinder a relationship. Here are some things you can do to mitigate the negative effects of technology use on your intimate relationship.
1) Discuss technology use with your partner and consider setting mutually respectful rules to manage technology use in a way that protects and preserves the relationship.
2) Have fun and be productive with technology together. Find shared uses and projects. Beyond enjoying music and media, consider making a film, designing a website, or creating an application together!
3) Keep the technology out of the bedroom. Unless you are sharing in the experience together it’s likly to take away from any initmate bonding with your partner.
4) Examine your own technology use. Ask if all of it is pleasant, productive or necessary. Why are you getting on the device and how many times a day?
5) Limit your technology use during family time. Staring at computers and mobile devices during mealtime and family activities detracts sharply from the shared human experience that creates a lasting bond.
6) Find out how your partner actually feels about how or how much time you are spending on your computer. Communication is the key.
7) Identify specific times or activites that are mobile device free. Sports, physical games, music, movies, theater and cooking are a few examples where it’s just more practical to leave that device behind. Learn to just be with your romantic partner without the third (or fourth) technology wheel. Once you agree that your time alone together is the priority you will find endless creative ways to make it happen.